Quick Charity Quilts series--Jelly Roll 1600 or Lasagna quilt

Well, I am kind of ashamed to admit that I have not yet been able to part with one of my quilts for charity. I am starting to accumulate a lot of quilts, though, so I'm sure it will not be long now :)

However, I have used this pattern/technique several times to make a pieced backing that uses up lots of scraps. It is the fastest quilt top I know, with the exception of Jen's one block top!

Using up a stack of green and pink gradations
The idea is, take a stack of 2.5 inch strips and sew them end to end to make a really, really, long strip. If you use a Jelly roll, this strip will be about 1600 inches long (hence the name) and will make a 50 x 64 inch quilt. Most of the videos and instructions have you sew the strips together diagonally (like when you sew lengths of binding together) to create slashes, but I preferred to just sew them together with flat ends. As a bonus, that also uses less fabric.

Using up a giant stack of purple.
If you want to see a Jellyroll race, take a look at these instructions and video by Heirloom Creations.

And here is another video showing the steps by MissouriQuiltCo.
The steps are pretty simple after you have made your giant strip:

If you are using a Jelly roll, cut off the first 18 inches of one end so the pattern will be random. Then, take the two ends of your long strip, line them up right sides together, and sew them together on the long side. When you get to the end, clip the two halves apart--you are now down to 800 inches. You can wait to press anything until the end.

Find the two ends again, place them right sides together again, and sew together on the long side again. This seam will take half as long and then be 400 inches. Make sure that you don't catch the other strips in your new seam. When you are done, cut the two halves apart again.

Repeat this 3 more times to get down to 200, 100, and finally 50 inches wide. For the last three doublings, make sure that you are putting the ends right side together without twisting the strip. 

When you are done, you can add a border if you want to make the quilt a little bigger.

While the instructions for this technique call for a Jelly roll, don't feel like you need to use one. I used 2.5 inch strips from my stash, and most of them were nowhere near 40 inches long. I have also done this technique with fatter strips, and that is even faster! I made one quilt back with about 4 inch strips, and one with varying sizes of strips (and a little bit of leftover strip set from the front).

Using up scraps from the front.
Using up scraps and chunks from the front.

So what happens if you want a to make different size of quilt? I can walk you through the non-scary math that makes it really simple. Let's say we want to make a double size, 72 x 90 inches. (If you want vertical strips instead of horizontal, just reverse the length and width measurements below.)

Take the length of the quilt you want to make, in this case 90, and divide it by the finished width of the strips (2 inches). 90 ÷ 2 = 45. This is how many rows of strips you are going to need.

Then, you multiply 45 rows by the width (72) to get the total length of the strip you need after the strips are sewn together into the giant strip. 45 x 72 = 3240. Add a generous fudge factor of at least 2 inches per row because the rows will be a little crooked and you will need to square them off. That gives you an estimate of about 3476 inches total. This would be kind of unpleasant to measure out--I usually fold the giant strip into 8 or 16 and then measure and multiply the length out to give a me a rough estimate.

Also, you might want to have on hand another strip about 2 x the width of the quilt if your seams tend to be too big or your blocks too small to add on at the end.

Now, you may or may not have noticed that the first quilt doubled neatly 5 times to make 64 inches in length, whereas this one does not neatly double in the last step to make the perfect length. There is a way to fix that.

At each stage of the doubling, your strips will be about 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 inches tall, corresponding to 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32 strips sewn together. Subtract the last doubling length, 64, from the length of your quilt: 90 - 64 = 26. This is how much more length you will need to add at the end. Looking at the various lengths that the strips you keep doubling will be, we could take chunks that measure 16, 8, and 2 inches to add up to 26 inches.

So, to get 26 more inches, cut a 74 inch (72-inch + fudge) chunk from your long strip before you start sewing when it is 2 inches/1 strip wide. Double your strip twice, then cut another chunk when it is 8 inches/4 strips wide. Double once more, and cut off one last chunk when it is 16 inches/8 strips wide.

Set these chunks aside and double your strips twice more to get to 64 inches long. Then, sew the chunks you set aside onto one or both ends of the quilt and you are done! 64 + 16 + 8 + 2 = 90. 

Here is a handy chart to tell you approximately how to make a particular size. 

Crib Twin Double Queen King
Width 36 54 72 90 108
Length 54 90 90 108 108
Length ÷ 2  27 45 45 54 54
Length of giant strip
(Length ÷ 2) x Width
972 2430 3240 4860 5832
Plus 2 inches per row (Fudge) 54 90 90 108 108
Total length of giant strip 1026 2520 3330 4968 5940
Number of doublings 4 5 5 5 5
Extra chunks to trim and save--
finished inches (number of strips wide)
(cut to width of quilt + 2")
2, 4, 16
(1, 2, 8) 
2, 8, 16
(1, 4, 8) 
2, 8, 16
(1, 4, 8)  
4, 8, 32
(2, 4, 16)
4, 8, 32
(2, 4, 16)  


  1. Oh my gosh -what a wealth of knowledge you gave us! THANK YOU THANK YOU AND THANK YOU!

    (Beautiful quilts by the way ;)

  2. gorgeous! and so much thorough information!!!

  3. I'm relearning to use a sewing machine and have been looking for an easy first quilt project and I do believe this is going to be very helpful! Thank you so much! Pinning now to reread later!